Working with processors

Table of Contents

What is a processor?

A processor is a JavaScript object used by the <html2react> package that, among other things, contains a function that is executed if a certain test condition evaluates as true. The test condition is used to match elements (or nodes) in the HTML markup of the content. The processor function will in some way process or alter the markup of that element and return either the modified markup or even something else in it's place.

A processor is a JavaScript object with the following defined properties:

  • name

  • priority

  • test

  • processor

The values of test and processor are functions.

In the case of test the function simply returns a boolean value depending on whether a condition is matched. The condition checks against each node in the DOM tree. Normally it will test whether a node has a particular HTML tag or a particular class, or other property.

In this example the function returns true if the received node (i.e. an HTML element) is an <img> tag. For all other elements in the DOM tree it will return false.

test: ({ node }) => node.component === "img";

A node here is an HTML element represented in a JavaScript object. So for example, this HTML:

<div class="wp-block-group jsforwp">
<h4>Heading</h4>
<p>Paragraph</p>
</div>

would be represented in JavaScript as follows:

{
"type": "element",
"component": "div",
"props": { "className": "wp-block-group jsforwp" },
"children": [
{ /* heading-object ... */ },
{ /* paragraph-object ... */ }
]
}

The processor property is a function that in some way "processes" the received node (remember that a node is a JavaScript object representing an HTML element). It can return a modified version of the element or something entirely different, such as a React compontent. This returned value will replace the original element in the DOM tree.

The execution of the processor function is dependent on the value returned by the test function. The processor function will only be executed if the test function returns true, therefore the processor function will only operate on nodes that match the test condition.

So, in the example above the processor function will only be executed if the element being tested by the test function is an <img>, and it will then process that element in a defined way.

Configure Frontity to use processors

Frontity provides the @frontity/html2react as the Frontity-way of converting HTML to React

The main advantage of using the Html2React component (an improved version of React's dangerouslySetInnerHTML) provided by the @frontity/html2react package is that you can add processors to parse all the HTML rendered by this component

So, in order to use a processor you need to take these steps in your Frontity project:

Note that if you are using an existing theme such as mars-theme or twentytwenty-theme then the html2react package is already installed and you don't need to follow these steps.

  1. Install the html2react package into your theme

npm i @frontity/html2react
  1. Add @frontity/html2react to the packages array in frontity.settings.js

packages: [
// ...
"@frontity/html2react",
];
  1. In the component that you wish to use it get html2react from the libraries object, which must be passed via props to the component connected via connect.

const MyComponent = ({ libraries }) => {
const Html2React = libraries.html2react.Component;
// ...
};
export default connect(MyComponent);
  1. Use it in that component where you might otherwise use dangerouslySetInnerHTML, passing it an html prop with the content that you wish to be rendered - this will usually be post.content.rendered.

<Html2React html={post.content.rendered} />

You can see an example of it's use in the post.js file in mars-theme.

For more info please see the documentation for the html2react package.

With those steps accomplished your project now has the ability to use processors.

How to use processors

Whenever you use the html2react component to render the HTML for the post/page content the test function will be evaluated for each element in the DOM tree and the processor function will execute and process that element if the test on that node passes, i.e. returns true.

You add processors in the array at libraries.html2react.processors in the theme's index.js.

Some processors, such as image, iframe, and link, are included with Frontity, and if you are using a ready-made theme such as @frontity/mars-theme or @frontity/twentytwenty-theme then they will already be added for you.

libraries: {
html2react: {
processors: [image, iframe, link],
},

You can also define your own processor and add it to this array.

As previously stated, a processor is a function that runs at render time when the HTML is parsed by the html2react component and a specific condition, as defined by the test function, is met. The condition is specified by a pattern, such as a specific element type which has a specific class. For example:

test: ({ node }) =>
node.component === "div" &&
node.props?.className?.split(" ").includes("some-class");

Then in place of the element that meets this condition the processor returns either a processed version of it (hence the name "processor") or even something else entirely, such as a React component.

Both of the functions, i.e. the processor and the test, receive the node (i.e. a JavaScript object representing an HTML element) as a prop. They also receive the other properties of the Frontity object, i.e. root, state and libraries.

An Example

In this section we will look at an example that demonstrates how you might implement a processor.

This example shows how to process an HTML element that might be found in the content from a WordPress site. In this example we will show you how to replace a <blockquote> element with a React component.

The full code for this example can be found in this repository.

We first define our processor, to be named "quote", in a file ./processors/quote.js. This file also includes the React component <Quote> that will replace any <blockquote> element that also has the class wp-block-quote. However, a more complex example might import this from a separate file.

import React from "react";
โ€‹
const Quote = ({ quote, author }) => {
console.log("Quote");
console.log({ quote, author });
return (
<div style={{ background: "red", color: "white", padding: "10px" }}>
<h3>{quote}</h3>
<h5>{author}</h5>
</div>
);
};
โ€‹
const quote = {
name: "quote",
priority: 20,
test: ({ component, props }) =>
component === "blockquote" && props?.className === "wp-block-quote",
processor: ({ node }) => {
const quote = node.children[0].children[0].content;
const author = node.children[1].children[0].children[0].content;
return {
component: Quote,
props: { quote, author },
};
},
};
โ€‹
export default quote;

The processor function extracts certain sub-parts of the <blockquote> element and passes them as props to the <Quote> component. The processor function also returns the HTML returned by the <Quote> component.

In the final line the quote processor is exported.

The quote processor is then imported into our theme's index.js file:

import quote from "./processors/quote";

And then included in the array of processors:

libraries: {
html2react: {
processors: [image, iframe, quote],
},
},

Now, in any component that uses the <Html2React> component to render the content, as follows:

<Html2React html={post.content.rendered} />

any element of this type:

<blockquote class="wp-block-quote">
<!-- child elements -->
</blockquote>

will be processed.

Another, more elaborate, example that illustrates the use of a processor can be found in the guide on processing page builder content.

Further information

Documentation on the html2react component can be found here.

More information about processors can be found here.

โ€‹The repository for the Frontity.org site contains a large number of examples of processors that you can examine both for ideas and for details of technical implementation in specific cases.

There is also a discussion about processors in a video in the Frontity Talks series.